A recent study by Princeton and Northwestern Universities shows evidence that America is not the democracy it claims to be, but a plutocratic oligarchy, meaning that relatively few wealthy people are dominating politics at the expense of everyone else. Researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page looked at 1,779 policy issues dating from 1981 to 2002, and looked at whether the final vote benefitted the average citizen, the economic elite, or business interest groups. Unsurprisingly, they found that the interests of businesses and the wealthy are significantly more likely to be addressed by the government.
The researchers found that “when a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose,” even when large majorities of voters are opposing big business. In fact, statistical analysis found that the interests of the common voter almost never match corporate interests. Instead of a government “by the people, for the people,” Gilens and Page feel that the dominance of a wealthy and corporate elite over the common voter will lead to a time where “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.”